Muuh Pylons

Enigmatic objects created by automated Muuh systems

Pylon Fragment
Image from Steve Bowers
A fragment of a Muuh Pylon discovered embedded in the small icy world YTS 99325-2710

Snapshot: 'The Unmentioned'

The dark hydrocarbon soil crunched under the feet of the two vecs and their Muuh companion as they made their way (at a very gradual pace) to the next impressive coral structure- a congregation center, if the hexapodal alien was to be believed. First-to-Fix had insisted eir lifetime vec friend Tends-to-Dawdle come along on this excursion, to which the for-once insatiably curious vec readily agreed. Any Terragen biont would be long bored by now. Several standard hours had passed since they had left their alien acquaintance's modest little dwelling by a burbling ethane stream, but the vecs paid no mind; spending some time ingratiating themselves with flesh-and-blood xenosophonts would be worth a hike. Indeed, slowing down their clocks to compensate for their Muuh guide granted an interesting, if temporary, perspective. At Muuh-speed, the processes that shaped this cold, hazy world took on a new light.

The shallow river that fed the stream near the Muuh's home began to ripple in ways that were not visible on timescales that the average vec (or biont) preferred. Gentle wind flows that blew into the fluctus scattered the sand in rapid, miniature sandstorms. In the distance another set of buildings- tagged by the two vecs' exoselves as one of the tholin baths- gave off tall plumes of methane 'steam' and a quote from a Muuh 'historific' they had studied bloomed in the vec's minds. The fumes boiled rapidly into whimsical shapes as the vecs watched, before bellowing further into the upper atmosphere to form wispy clouds which raced through the sky.

Of course their guide too was now animated further by the vec's adapted clockrate. The Muuh, who at first appeared as a being so glacial as to be nearly impossible to converse with now seemed almost hyperactive, with speech sonorous and eager. Sonar transmitted from the alien formed complex ideograms that brushed pleasantly across the vec's metal integument. They had learned xeir name from these ideograms; used them when the two sophonts first met the Muuh, "Adores Building Upon Soft Sands" one standard day ago. The Muuh's name seemed disturbingly appropriate though, given xeir shifting answers or utter silence on certain...archeological matters.

"So what was that 17 kilometer long fractal obelisk covering most of the north horizon?" asked Tends-To-Dwadle. "One of our colleagues had it measured as several million years old, built at the beginning of your local records"

Their Muuh guide gave a happy shrug with xeir arms "The little stones have lain here sleeping for so long we thought best to leave them! Let us stop and I'll show you something else!"

"…little stones?" asked one of the vecs.

"There're so many little stones we carved a short while ago down here!" babbled the Muuh, who continued avoiding the first question, and instead pointed at a nearby gully and pond.

The two made a mental note- that on this colony world too, the locals still maintained The Taboo, apparently. The trio stopped as Soft Sand halted on the crest of a hill, with the somewhat fungal-looking building standing just a kilometer away now. Both vecs' ever-vigilant infrared eye scopes rendered the nitrogen haze clear to see their destination.

A flicker of movement made First-To-Fix's sensorium twist to meet it, finding a curious sight in a small methane puddle. A slippery crawling thing was digging through the oily pond, tendrils probing into the mud as First-To-Fix accelerated eir clockrate and stalked down the hill. The being didn't acknowledge the vec as e sank into the puddle alongside it, content to do whatever it was doing as e watched, metaphorical gears turning as query programs were launched to find out what this curious thing was. "Muuh bot; presapient biobot of ancient design used by the Muuh xenosophonts used for a myriad of purposes, requiring strict directions by their…" The voice of First-To-Fix's assistant carried down as e and Tends-To-Dawdle made their way languidly down the hill, rolling water ice pebbles and brown puffs of hydrocarbon dust lurching to a crawl as the pair went to meet the Muuh machine.

"Ahhh, my servitor has found it!" exclaimed Soft Sands, who had begun moving xeir claws across the side of the biobot. Eventually the Muuh commanded the oil-slickened automaton away, and plunged an excited, dextrous claw into the methane pond to retrieve a hunk of stone as intricately carved as xeir shell from the surrounding water ice gravel. "Going by the marks, this was a discarded souvenir from one of the first negotiators with your kind to our world, not that long ago." hummed their Muuh guide "We made so many, they got strewn across the landscape during festivals in our excitement at the news of newcomers".

"And when precisely was that?" asked both Terragen vecs.

"This happened only a thousand years before now"

"Ah. A prize indeed then. " said Tends-to-Dawdle. "Perhaps you could tell us more about those festivals?"

"Gladly! The meeting between my ancestors and your hive was quite inspiring! I'll tell you of this as we walk toward the congregation center" babbled the Muuh.

And the three moved onward, with the mysterious , unmentionable monoliths towering on the horizon beyond the haze.
Composed of diamondoid and covered by a thin mesh of magmatter, these enigmatic pylons are perhaps the most iconic structures created by the automated Muuh colonisation devices known as Muuhformers. The Muuh do not currently seem to possess any technology capable of manufacturing magmatter, so the origin of this exotic material is unknown. It may have been acquired at some time in the long history of this race, or perhaps manufactured in some location that has not yet been identified.

Pylons are always created by the automated system at the end of its period of activity, when the world is fully habitable. These structures are, without exception, completely ignored by the Muuh. In fact when questioned the Muuh appear to be completely ignorant of the structure several hundred kilometers long in their star system and will refuse to acknowledge them or discuss them even when shown direct evidence. This behavior is consistent even among very distant and isolated Muuh colonies, suggesting something that goes beyond mere memetics.

The automated Muuh defence system known as the System of Response prevents any closer inspection of the Pylons. However, several fragments of structures presumed to have once been part of Pylons have been discovered in several locations in the Terragen Sphere. These fragments contain an intricate fractal-like patterns and structures resembling three-dimensional projections of higher dimensional objects. As with the pylons, the Muuh remain silent about these, and appear strangely distracted and forgetful if a non-Muuh attempts to engage them in conversation on the topic.

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Development Notes
Text by Dalex
Initially published on 31 August 2014.

Snapshot added by Not Applicable and Dfleymmes, 2021